Mending wounded relationships is NOT simple and band aids are rarely effective, but there are some simple, practical, and transforming actions that can be taken to change a tone/vibe/environment within your home and marriage.
Try these five actions for a week and see if the temperature in your home doesn’t change a little. Plus, even if your relational temperature is “fine,” these ideas may make it even better.
1. Walk away from your smartphone. When you come home from work, it’s too simple to get lost in texting, checking, and reading from the phone. Don’t make the mistake of believing you are so critical to the world that you must be accessible at all times. Walk away from your phone when you should be focusing on your spouse. Better yet, turn it off. (Yes, there actually is a way to shut off a phone!)
2. Close your laptop. Computers are wonderful. But, when the computer is on, I’d swear that it calls my name incessantly, “Hey Doug! Yoo hoo! I know you’re there! Pay attention to me!” It’s too easy to come home and “get lost” in the computer that’s always on and calling your attention (blogs, email, Quicken, etc…). Turn it off and see if you can turn on some dialogue with your spouse.
3. Show up on time. If you tell your spouse that you’ll be home by 6pm… get home. Not 6:30…not even 6:05. If you make a time commitment to your spouse, honor it. It’s amazing what simple actions will communicate about love and respect.
4. Reduce TV time by half. I’m not asking you to go Amish and ditch all TV. I’m suggesting that you cut your viewing time in half. Many of us eat dinner while watching TV. Try turning it off and engage in dinner conversation. In some homes, the TV is on even when no one is watching. It becomes the soundtrack to our lives. So again, turn it off, and create your own soundtrack of dialog with your spouse.
5. Leave a short note. The emphasis on this is “short”… I’m not suggesting two pages, typed out, double-spaced. What if you left your spouse a short note every day for a week? Short words of affection and encouragement can be powerful. And, if it’s not a regular practice, these notes will become treasures.
Yes, some relationships need BIG changes (intervention, counseling, accountability, etc…), but some relationships can be dramatically altered by some very SMALL and doable actions.
Give these a try today!